Interning at Swahilipot Hub

My name is James Omego Marcus, currently a fourth year student at Pwani University pursuing a degree in Computer Science majoring in Networking. The first thing that always comes to my mind when I hear “Swahilipot hub “ is the welcome talk given to us by Mr. Paul Akwabi when we toured Swahilipot hub in 2017 when I was a third year, it was a class trip. Since that day I loved Swahilipot and I knew that it was the place to be and that’s why when my time for attachment arrived I applied for internship at Swahilipot, luckily enough I was accepted as an Intern.

Starting my attachment from 15th of May to 5th of August I learned and gained a lot as an intern at Swahilipot over that period. To begin with ,the simple basics of understanding how the real world operate away from the class work to gaining more skills adding on top of whatever I had been taught in class.

Over this time I was able to learn and turn into a pro of building word press websites something that I hadn’t tried back at school,I managed to build one website for an non-profit organization called Dear Diary and the URL to the website is www.deardiarykenya.co.ke.

As an aspiring Network Engineer I can never forget the experience and resources that Swahilipot did invest in Me. The Network Admin Mr. Joab Kose gave me full authorization to the network resources and this did help grow my experience as far as CISCO switches and routers are concerned. He taught me how to troubleshoot the network whenever we had network related issues and most of the time this task was given to me. This greatly gave me hands on skills of network management and network troubleshooting.

Since networking is also going the programmable way, my supervisors did not let me just sit there, they had me registered for Python programming language since it is the language that is mostly used in network programming and network security. In this course I took python programming essentials and at the end of the course I was issued with a certificate. It gave me lots of knowledge in python programming and this is just the beginning.

Seeing the passion that I had in networking Swahilipot hub IT department decided to do something that I’ll never forget for the rest of my life and it is for this reason that I’ll remain a “POTTER” forever . I was sponsored into the CISCO NETWORKING ACADEMY. A times it is difficult to express how happy and appreciative I am for this chance but I believe that someday I’ll give back just as I was given a chance by the “POTTERS”.

The day that I came for an interview at Swahilipot I was asked a question by Swahilipot hub ICT manager Mr. Britone Mwasaru he did ask my expectations from Swahilipot ,well I answered the question without fumbling because I knew exactly what I wanted. I told him I wanted to get hands on skills inn networking and to become a python programming guru. If today he’d ask me again if I achieved my expectations I’ll reply YES ,all of my expectations have been fulfilled and the stack is overflowing. Because I’ve had all that I wanted to get plus extra,ranging from switches and router to configuring access points to trunking to crimping to installing CCTV cameras to network management plus certifications on top of that I’ve had it all.

There’s one major thing that really impressed me about Swahilipot that would make me recommend someone who need attachment to consider applying Swahilipot hub. The level of support from the Swahilipot hub community is amazing, everybody there has the heart to help you grow and to make you follow your dreams. You’ll not be totally defeated by something without getting help not unless you don’t ask for help.

For me Swahilipot hub will forever remain my home and I’ll be there too to help others grow just as I was helped to follow my passion in networking. “Am a Potter for LIFE”.

 

Written by James Omego Marcus

Next steps in the Community Governance Initiative

By Simeon Oriko, Board Member, Swahilipot Hub

Without a community, Swahilipot Hub would not exist. I’m alive to this fact every time I sit down to work on Swahilipot initiatives.

When the idea for a Community Governance Initiative at SPH popped into my mind some time towards the end of 2017, I intended that community members would do two things: one, share their experiences on engaging with Swahilipot and two, participate in drafting and implementing ideas to grow and strengthen Swahilipot Hub and it’s members.

Let’s explore these two things for a second.

Early this year, we asked you, members of Swahilipot Hub, to fill out a survey that would enable us to listen to your thoughts, ideas and criticisms. 111 members filled out the survey – some people filled it twice! (Thank you).

We’ve taken some time to compile an analysis of the survey and we’re very excited to share it with you.

Not only are we sharing the analysis, we’re also sharing with you the raw data – all the comments that were submitted for the survey.

So what next after the survey?

We need you to engage – develop and implement experiments to move SPH forward. Experiments that are successfully implemented will be kept as part of SPH’s operations.

Some community members criticized this process saying it would be all talk and no action. While there is place for constructive criticism, there is also place for action. The experiments that will be developed as a results of people’s ideas are the mechanism through which we will take action to improve Swahilipot Hub. I must emphasize, that this is wholly a community led process. I encourage you all to engage in the next phase of this process.

So, how do you engage in this next phase?

We’ve come up with 5 sub-committee’s through which experiments will be generated from and implemented through. They are as follows:

  1. Community Building – Led by Francis Ikoha and Angela Mumbi
  2. Programs and Events – Led by Krispy and Dj Lenium
  3. Communications – Led by Simon Adeya and Stephen Mwalily
  4. Governance – Led by Rajab Snow AKA Malenga 001 and Daddy the Dancer
  5. Basic Facilities – Led by Ohms Law Montana and Ruth Kaveke

We invite you to sign up to join one of these sub-committee’s. Sign up using this Google Form: https://goo.gl/forms/nRIAoediXV9vNGQI3.

The deadline for signing up for a committee is Friday 13th April 2018.

What are the timelines for this process?

  • Monday 9th April: Blog post announcing the next steps + Google form to sign up for the sub committee’s
  • Friday 13th April: Last day to sign up to join a sub-committee
  • Monday 16th April to Thursday 31st May: Sub-committees come up with concepts and implement them as experiments

Please note, that you can only join one sub-committee.

We are a community. Communities are intentional – they don’t happen by chance. I encourage you to be intentional about your participation in our community and be a part of this process.

On behalf of the board and staff, we look forward to working with you to implement your proposed experiments and to grow our community.

Pwani Innovation Week-Press Release

SWAHILIPOT HUB ANNOUNCES PWANI INNOVATION WEEK

Scheduled for December 3 – 7, 2018 in Mombasa, the event is aimed at stimulating the Innovation ecosystem in Kenya’s coastal region

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Mombasa, Kenya (April 4, 2018) — In an effort to stimulate the innovation ecosystem in Kenya’s coastal region, Swahilipot Hub announces Pwani Innovation Week that will provide opportunities to learn, showcase and experience innovation in action as well as provide a forum for discussions about a regional innovation strategy.

“Our agitation for a regional innovation strategy signals our intention to build an innovation ecosystem focused on creating and supporting new businesses,” said Mr. Simeon Oriko, Board member at Swahilipot Hub.

Pwani Innovation Week features a variety of events in one week including a two day conference on December 6 – 7 to be hosted at the Kenya Coast National Polytechnic in Mombasa. Other events include talks, pitching, workshops and entertainment. A part of the programming will feature family, art and cultural events.

“We are excited to highlight the region’s aspirations and the initiatives being undertaken to meet them,” said Mr. Mahmoud Noor, Patron and Chairman of Swahilipot Hub.

Kenya’s Vision2030 development programme underscores the importance of innovation in creating a strong base for enhanced efficiency, sustained growth and promotion of value addition in goods and services. Pwani Innovation Week is an opportunity to mainstream innovation across all sectors including the “Big Four” – manufacturing, universal healthcare, affordable housing, and food security.

 

Details of the event are available on the Pwani Innovation Week website: www.pwaniinnovationweek.co.ke

 

About Swahilipot Hub

Swahilipot Hub is an innovation hub for arts and technology in Mombasa that supports members through training, mentorship and coworking facilities. To learn more about Swahilipot Hub, visit www.swahilipothub.co.ke

###

Press Contact

Contact: Jamila Hassan

Phone: +254 753 557 799

Email: pr@pwaniinnovationweek.co.ke

 

Shining Star: Juma Rashid

My name is Juma Rashid Wafula, born and raised in Mombasa, Kenya, a graduate of Moi University
with a Bachelor’s Degree in Natural Resources Management, a founder of Explore PhotoTrip,
TechWorld Investments and RJ APPARELS.
This is my startup journey…
Do you have a bold idea? What is your perfect job? What is your lifelong dream?
Many startups are born from one of these motivations. It may have been created around an idea for
a product or service. It may have been an opportunity to develop your ideal job or ‘be your own
boss’.
It might even have been a premonition, a path you always thought you were destined to walk.
For myself, it was born more out of hobbies and passion. Since childhood I have always been keen to
turn my hobbies into a money-making venture. For instance, I ran a video game business as a
teenager as I waited to join university since I enjoyed playing video games at home and while in Moi
University in my second year I started a T-shirt printing business, RJ APPARELS after learning about
Graphic Designing and Screen Printing from Paul Luganda Obinna a fellow Moi University student.
Lucky for me, it has since developed into something that I am very proud of. It is a decision that is
beginning to feel justified.
You have heard this one before. After graduating, you are told the world is your oyster. You may
conquer wherever you roam. The job market will welcome you with open arms and shelter you from
the nightmares of serving casual manual jobs.
The reality is very different. It greets you with a stern disapproving look rather than with open arms.
It judges your every decision and scrutinises your past. In the end it happily lets you know it found
somebody better than you.
The market presents graduate jobs looking for ‘x’ years experience (you have to wonder how this is
meant to be gained coming fresh from university?).
It welcomes 1000’s of applicants per job post. It offers internships with no form of income at
all.
For many, the job market is difficult, daunting, and regularly defeating and it defeated me.
After it defeated me on a few occasions I began to doubt myself. The more this niggling self-doubt
set in, the more I began to critique my professional resume and myself.
Rather than try to tart up what I had to show, to make it as glossy and appealing as possible, instead,
I started to volunteer and accept various short-term job contracts in various organizations.
After a couple of years without securing a “permanent and stable” job, I concluded that I wasn’t cut
for the job market. I saw no way to a career. I couldn’t secure a job.
I developed a serious lack of confidence regarding my career, and I was in danger of drifting
ominously towards depression and days spent pondering on what could, and should, have been.
But then, out of the blue, the light-bulb moment.It was time to start up a startup/company.
This was my chance to reset what had been a relatively unenjoyable university learning experience,
a chance to shape my future, a chance to do something I had a genuine interest in but had never
before had the drive to make it happen.
In that moment, TechWorld Investments and Explore PhotoTrip was born while frequenting
Swahilpot Hub, an incubation center in Mombasa for collaborative innovation in technology & art.
TechWorld Investments was established in 2016 as an IT sales and service firm. TechWorld
Investments has evolved to offer a wide range of products and services that today’s consumers
demand.
Explore PhotoTrip was also established in 2016 while planning for a team-building trip for Swahilipot
Hub members to foster team work and collaboration. Explore PhotoTrip has since evolved into a
tour agency offering affordable tour packages, hotel bookings, travel photography and videography.
Swahilipot Hub has been instrumental in offering the co-working space, internet connectivity and
most important the diverse community members with exceptional skills and talents that have
assisted in growing these startups. From Kevin Barassa whom we shared the idea of organizing a
team-building trip for Swahilipot Hub members out of which Explore PhotoTrip was born, Musa Ali
and Silver Jareds who offered their photography and videography skills respectfully for our first trip
in 2016.
It is hard to measure the success of something that is effectively still in its youth but looking over the
journey so far, there are some things I do know.
Am I rich? Absolutely not. Broke? Sometimes. Successful? Far too soon to say.
In truth, it would be a lie not to admit there are still days where I wish I just had a 8–5 university
degree related job, that would find my workload for me and provide me with schedules, targets and
deadlines.
Yup, I sometimes long for structure. I still regularly glance at job sites, curious as to whether there is a better opportunity for me
However, it is not all doom and gloom.
There have been so many positives gained from the experience.
I have learned an unbelievable amount, in terms of both life lessons and skills.
I can say with certainty is that I have made steady progress, and as the projects and commissions
continue to roll in, and the client list continues to expand, something that had started as a seed is
now beginning to blossom.
I am proud of what I have achieved so far with my startup journey.
My advice to others? It could also be the best decision for you.
If the job market is saving its open arms for everyone but you, give it the finger and start yourself a
startup/company.
You may never look back.

Creative Commons Workshop

All content creators must know rights for their work, you can protect your work in different ways. Many artists and creatives lose their work to others because they didn’t protect their work through the procedures set down by Laws.
In collaboration with Creative Commons, a training workshop on Intellectual property was held on Friday 9th and Saturday 10th March at Swahilipot hub for Artists from the hub. The workshop was conducted by our Legal director Asma Al-Amin and Emma Mengo.

The artists were trained on the copyrights, patent, industrial design and trademark, this being the overview of Intellectual property Rights. In addition, an introduction on Creative Commons licenses that will help them share their work on the various online platforms.

This training is an introduction and awareness of Creative Commons in Mombasa, more workshops and training will be held at Swahilipot Hub to assist Artists from being exploited and how they can benefit from Creative Commons.

Photo credits : Don Makameleon Photography and Jammy Photos

Pot Culture Introduction

Everyone has untapped talent, the most important part is having a platform to showcase the talents. For the past two years Swahilipot Hub has created various platforms for Artists and creatives to show their exceptional talent, nurtured and mentored into award winning Artists.  The objective is to create branded artists who can sustain themselves in the future.

Our 2018 goal is to create a platform from Artists from different counties in the Coast to showcase their talent and skills to the different audiences. Pot culture is a yearlong series of events in different counties. A culmination of performances for the annual concert Kenyans Owns Talent in December. Creating this platform will enable them to learn how to perform in a crowd, learn discipline and become confident in what they do. Various community members from Swahilipot Hub have volunteered to mentor the upcoming artists and creatives to help them build the talent, creating a brand and promote them. Each artist is assigned a mentor in the same field/category and is mentored, so far over 20 artists have been able to showcase their work.

The first Pot Culture was on 2nd March 2018, the event was graced by various community members at Swahilipot Hub.  Shiphrah, Azooz, Mox and Janet Chumbe were the four solo artists who performed and a play was showcased by the Pot actors. Solomon Zully was Master of the ceremony for the event. The artists were mentored through rigorous rehearsals daily that helped perform exceptionally at the event.  Shiphrah has won a few awards, sang Diamond by Rihanna and Kitu kimoja by Avril, while Janet Chumbe gave us spoken word pieces on Friendzone and cheating. Mox moved the crowd by Mama by Aslay, while Azooz narrated a folk story of Mekatilili.  After each performance the audience were given a chance to give feedback to the artist, this is to help them build their talent that would appeal to the audience and to help become better artists.  The actors consisting of 14 cast and crew gave an extraordinary play with a message to the audience. The event was graced by Mombasa County Nominated MCA for the Youth Moses Aran, Mr, Taib Ali from Friends of Fort Jesus and other various high profile guests.  The event was to showcase the specific performances but also a bridge between community and the artists

As we embark in this journey, we would like to thank Mentor Mahmood Noor for the support, National Museum, Friends of Fort Jesu s, ICT Ministry and Seacom for the support of Swahilipot Hub.  The next event will be in Kwale County; we look forward to exploring the talents and nurture them through this platform. Kindly follow us on facebook for all update: https://www.facebook.com/Swahilipothub/

Sights and sounds of Pot Culture March 2nd 2018:

Photo credit to : Leo Artpix Photography studio and Heartstigraphy

Shining Star: Wacu Kihara

From age 11, I knew I wanted to be a Fashion Designer.

I started Khangadelic in 2015 after a 10 year hiatus upon encouragement from my Aunt.

When I got back from Italy in 1995 where I studied Fashion Design at POLIMODA: Istituto Internazionale Politecnico Della Moda, I registered Back To Black Designs and won various awards. Search for a National Costume in 1995 1st prize Ladies and 2nd Prize Men, SIFA Smirnoff International Fashion Awards, 3rd Prize in the Professional Category.

I got a lot of encouragement from my American friends in Naivasha where I had lived for 10 years before coming back to Mombasa 2 years ago this April. They supported and bought Khangadelic products locally and for family back home as gifts.

Khangadelic did 2 Charity Fashion Shows one for the EAWL East African Women’s League of which I was also Secretary for the Naivasha Branch for 2 years. EAWL raises money to support Charities that help Women and Children and the second one to raise funds for the boy’s dormitory at St. Andrew’s Tarabete in Kasarani, North Lake, Naivasha and we donated 10% of our sales towards the same.

Swahili Pot has helped with networking through various members.

Firstly I would like to thank Jammy El Jabry for telling me about Swahili Pot.

Ohms Law Montana is a mentor to my son Lucca aka Lucca Eky Rapper as well as the Brand Ambassador and the Face of my Fashion label Khangadelic.

Ohms Law introduced me to Musa Oyoo of Terra Models Management who has provided models for 2 of my photo shoots.

Musa in turn introduced me to Erick Pamba of Pamba Photography who does all of Khangadelic’s photography.

Paul Akwabi has introduced my son Lucca to TechKidz Africa a brilliant initiative for children on learning more about Robotics and Programming.

Angela Mumbi introduced us to Kids Fashion Show in which Lucca modelled and also Khangadelic was given the opportunity to showcase our collection on the Catwalk. Mumbi was also the inspiration behind the Valentine’s photo shoot in which she modelled a strapless satin gown with Khanga accents and a khanga velvet lined cape.

Ruth Kaveke of Pwani Teknowgalz trained me on Web Development and helped me set up my ecommerce website www.khangadelic.com

Swahili Pot also has fast and reliable internet, the members are a community and one big family and are very supportive of each other’s ventures. They also have a good relationship with the County Government who always send representatives to their functions.

Other networks and resources have been the Export Promotion Council who have given Khangadelic the platform and opportunity to travel and exhibit at International Trade Fairs such as NY NOW 2016, Sourcing at MAGIC 2017 in Las Vegas, FIHAV 2016 (Havana International Fair), Cuba and Spring Fair 2018, Birmingham, UK.

Mombasa County Government Department of Trade, Investment sponsored Khanagdelic to NY NOW 2016.

Challenges we face are

  1. Financing especially from Banks: we have in the past been financed by family and friends (My late Mother was my biggest supporter)
  2. Outlets to stock our products; they normally take the products on consignment and so we get paid as they sell which ties up our funds indefinitely. My dream would be to have my own Boutique/ showroom/ studio.
  3. We have a couple of clients in the USA, but are working to get more as we feel the export market is more appreciative of our products and are willing to pay without haggling over price.
  4. We also want to bridge the gap in the Trade deficit in the balance of trade. Kenya imports more than she exports and our PS in the State Department of Trade Dr Chris Kiptoo keeps challenging us in the various forums we have attended to have export ready goods and look for markets abroad. My heart sinks every time I see ships leaving the port of Mombasa empty but coming in full.
  5. Payment: We have in the past provided clothing for a couple of people for various events, but they feel they do not want to pay for the outfits or even give a mention that they were dressed by Khangadelic. Making clothing costs from the fabric, labour, delivery, time and effort spent.

Another passion of mine is the environment. Khangadelic is working with the Green Gang enrichment club of the Aga Khan Academy Mombasa on Environmental and Recycling Projects in Mombasa County. We carried out a clean-up exercise along Mama Ngina Drive and on the beach by the Ferry and were joined by the Patron of Swahili Pot, Mahmoud Noor and other members. But there is so much rubbish to be collected, I don’t think we made much difference with our clean up, but we did create awareness. We have an online petition to Ban Plastic Bottles and for Responsible Consumption (one of the Global Sustainable Development Goals). We need to care for our environment and responsibly dispose of waste especially plastic waste which takes hundreds of years to decompose and is killing a lot of animals that eat it and end up starving to death because of the plastic they swallow.

 

The advice I would like to give others who want to start up is to follow their passion and whatever they do will be an enjoyable journey and it will not seem like work. The journey is not without difficulties and at times one may feel like “throwing in the towel” but don’t.

It is good to do a lot of research, join Associations or groups with the same interests, they will help you grow and network.

Attend training sessions or workshops, you never stop learning.

Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI), Women in Business (WIB) are just some of the few. Export Promotion Council (EPC) has also greatly helped Khangadelic especially if you want to venture into the export market.

 

My Mother’s last words were “Don’t give up”

Shinning Star: Hussein Abdi Hussein

I am Hussein Abdi Hussein, I am a youth in Mombasa.  I have a degree in business administration with an accounting option and I am currently undergoing my private studies in CPA part 3 section 5. I am an active member of swahilipot hub I am also an actor.

I started a business of custom made Kenya flag T-shirts. The idea of the t-shirt with the kenyan flag came along while we were in swahilipot hub 02-05-2017. It was the time when we are heading to the general elections of 08/08/2017. The political tension which was around that time gave me the drive to make the T-shirt so as to show up the patriotism in us with the slogan “kenya moja”.

To start promoting my T-shirts, I collaborated with Swahilipot hub member Abdulrazak also known as Don to do a photoshoot of my T-shirts. We used the resources on social media to market the t-shirts and also to Swahilipot Hub members.  Most Members of swahilipot Hub helped reach my target and goals as an entrepreneur.  I received an overwhelming support from Friends and family.

I took a risk in this business idea; I used my school fees as capital. Sometimes we have to take risks in order to grow.  My biggest challenge is people not paying after delivery; I came up with an idea of payment prior to delivery.

My advice is make sure you conduct a market test before u engage or invest in a project. Look upon the customer’s response. Listen up to ideas which will help you in the growth of the business.

Community Governance in Swahilipot Hub Community

The community Governance Model in Swahilipot Hub was formed on 20th December, 2017 . This was after an active participation in analyzing the strategic plan of 2017 reported by the executive team on their achievements and challenges they faced on the implementation process.However, a gap was noticed between the executive team and the community insofar as information, decision making and involvement of the community is a factor in Swahili pot. Realization that we are the right members to participate in decision making and suggestions of possible solutions to our challenges as a community triggered the formation of this department. This meeting created a sense of belonging to us members .It is from then that we developed an understanding of where we are now and where we opt to be. Democratically, a team of six members were elected. Three members of the executive were added in the team.

Community Governance team members:

  1. Mwanahamisi Adam -chairlady
  2. Simeon Oriko- Advisory Board Member
  3. Francis Ikoha- co-chair
  4. Vincent Ouma
  5. Jamila Hassan Awadh
  6. Kelvin Omondi
  7. Simon Adeya
  8. Rajab Salim
  9. Britone Mwasaru
  10. Angela Mumbi

We all have come together to pursue a common goal as an a Tech and Art Community, Community governance is all about the process of involving the community in decision making.We are in the process of devolping a positive strength based strategy as our community development approach. We will not dwell so much on what is absent but how well can we maximize what we have to make Swahilipot hub even more comfortable .Community governance department will ensure the fulfillment of the following through a survey that we want to carry out.

1. Culture and solutions

Will gather beliefs, rules, values, power ,ideas and knowledge of the community members in regard of the 2017 strategic plan .The goal of this process is to identify what is readily available to maximize it’s use, challenges ,issues and possible solutions .

2. Accommodate change

This are the things to do. The solutions proposed will be worked on to our best capacity. We will incorporate what was suggested by the community members.

3. Results that matter.

Successful results are expected from this process that will cause a difference that counts.

Thank you now and forever,

Mwanahamisi Adam – chairlady

Community Outreach at Pwani University

On 7th of October the technology and community teams teamed up to do community outreach with the computer science students at Pwani University. Amos from the Computer Science club reached out to us after their short visit to Swahilipot Hub during their school visit to Seacom. The team comprised of Athman Ziri, Johnes Mecha, Angela Mumbi, Kelvin Chivatsi, Paul Akwabi and Britone Mwasaru.

We did sessions on the following:

  • Getting started with computer programming
  • Choosing a programming language
  • Computer Networking and the Swahilipot Hub Cisco Academy
  • Introduction to Android Mobile Apps Development
  • From idea to execution with Tech Kidz Africa as a case study

During the session we were impressed by the curiosity among the students and the questions were very good. The main theme was the challenges that everyone faces when they are starting to get into the computing field. We looked forward to have practical sessions on different sessions like web development, computer networks and mobile apps development.

Thank you the Pwani Unversity Computer Science team for reach out and looking forward to another session.